Subjects: witches, supernatural, magic, abilities, good vs. evil
Setting: The UK: England, Scotland and Wales
POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Nathan. Sometimes also in 2nd person.
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 394 pgs.
List Price: $18.99
Publisher: Penguin: Viking
Summary/ product description: “Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.
You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.
You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.
You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.
You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.
All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.
My Review: Half Bad is a bit different from all the paranormal books I have read. Usually a book would start out with the character as a teenager and usually stick to a certain POV. Well, Half Bad started in 2nd person for about 18 pages. Then the first person POV part had Nathan at age 11. It isn’t till part three of the book that he turn 16. About 150 pages into the book. The beginning felt a little middle grade-like rather than YA.
The book wasn’t bad. It was pretty interesting. I was expecting some alternate world where everyone knows witches exist, kind of like the Tantalize series where everybody know shifters exist. I was wrong. Regular people are called fains by the witches. The witches are a secret society. There are new rules about Half Code, those who are half Black/White witches or half fain. Nathan has to go to assessments so they can determine whether he’ll be a Black or White witch.
The book does have a brief bit of romance, but not enough to really matter. There’s some action. Fighting and trying to escape. The parts that were in 2nd person made me think of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. There’s a lot of broken grammar and lists and short chapters almost like poems. There’s also a lot of British slang and phrases that I’m not used to hearing as an American. I feel so sorry for Nathan. He’s dyslexic or just illiterate. He can draw really well, though. He seems depressed and neglected. He thinks he’ll be a Black witch.
The world building was pretty interesting. The Black and White witches seemed like a racism think, but it was really good vs. evil. You start to question whether White witches are actually good. Some of them are probably rotting on the inside, or wanting to kill just as much as a Black witch. All young witches has to receive 3 gift on their 17th birthday in order to get their one special ability what even it may be. I also enjoyed the setting. Most books set in the UK just stick to London, but this was the countryside. He was in Wales and Scotland also. It’s fun to imagine the misty, rainy environment there. It adds atmosphere.
I recommend this book if you like book like Harry Potter or Shatter Me. It’s not dystopian, but it kind of feels that way in certain parts. It’s mostly a just a British paranormal book filled with magic and interesting characters.
Cover Art Review: I love the cover because it’s metallic and the silhouette made of spreading blood really pops out. The title is a little hard to read because it’s orientation, but it’s a well designed cover and will appeal to not only teens, but adults as well.